The digital and mobile revolution. Are your clients ready?

There is no disputing that the digital and mobile revolution is fundamentally changing the ways in which consumers expect to interact with their bank. But to what extent are UK banks leveraging new technology to improve their services?

The most obvious changes are evident in the business to consumer space where businesses are managing the slow decline of cash transactions in favour of online, card and contactless payments. Digital transactions provide vast amounts of data that can be processed quickly and efficiently, allowing consumer businesses to grow their sales by targeting online marketing to relevant customers, offering location-specific offers to encourage repeat business – with transactions conducted entirely through a mobile device.

Santander’s payment provider, Elavon, has a number of new services that will offer benefits to both your clients’ and their customers.

  • Fanfare, a cloud based loyalty solution allows your SME clients to deliver tailored, branded loyalty promotions directly to their customers via email, mobile phone and at point of sale to accelerate sales and encourage loyalty.
  • Talech, an ePOS solution effectively transforms an iPad into a cash register and powerful business management tool. Suitable for clients in the retail and restaurant trade, they can track sales, staff performance and other business insights.

For those operating in the business to business space (B2B), the immediate impact of the digital and mobile revolution on banking services is less obvious. Development of online banking functionality - to facilitate payments and reconciliation - is the most obvious area of change, and this – along with other surfacing developments – has the potential to significantly disrupt B2B banking services and evolve the type of services that banks provide.

The Internet continues to drive the collation of data which will support the automation of many banking processes. This should drive improvements and efficiencies in areas as diverse as credit referencing and asset value verification.

Cloud technology will increasingly create a pervasive environment for all payment flows to be consolidated and recognised on behalf of your clients – who will no longer have to search for these flows across different banking platforms. 

Many B2B businesses still largely rely on finance-sector built and owned infrastructures to make and receive payments using BACS and CHAPS systems. An increase in the cap value of Faster Payments and the development of alternative, European, real-time clearing structures offers the potential to move payments onto new platforms that offer both time and cost savings on domestic and cross-border B2B payments.

In addition, regulatory challenges in the UK and Europe are driving a move to open up data and channels to allow businesses to use new, non-bank providers to make and receive payments. The finance industry should expect to see not only new challenger banks offering services to commercial and corporate clients, but also non-banks such as PayPal, Google, Capita, and Amazon – who are already starting to disintermediate banks in some traditional activities such as invoice financing. 

"What part the banks play in B2B banking services moving forwards will depend on how well they adapt to evolving client needs, and how well they work with tech businesses to deliver safe and sustainable solutions."

At Santander we are doing just that by working with innovative companies to evolve and expand the services we provide. From an online Trade Portal that matches suppliers to potential buyers, to an employee engagement recognition and special offers app that supports the retention of talented staff, we are embracing the digital and mobile revolution to ensure we have the right solutions to support ambitious businesses as they look to grow. 

The Santander Trade Portal is available to Santander Corporate & Commercial customers. If you are not a Santander Corporate & Commercial customer, then you are still able to access the Trade Portal although some parts of the site will be restricted.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK